The Madness

In a world that disappears under your feet, an unpredictable world, a world where you can never find peace, that is the world which will prove whether or not you have what it takes to live.

‘Encyclopedia of Emotions’

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I have one more day before it begins. This formidable undertaking. As if in preparation for the amount of writing I have to do, my mind is dry now, the tide has receded and I do not know how to put into words this numbing apprehension that I have tried to pretend doesn’t exist.

It does.

And it is creeping through my mind.

There is also the worry that I cannot keep up. School projects. WWBI. Bible studies. Church. Friends. Devotions. Homework. Karate. And now, this.

But I can’t give up before I start. Now that my character is a real person, now that she is pressuring me to tell her story, she is emerging from the folds of my imagination into reality, I cannot suppress her. Every writer knows this feeling. The urge to tell a story. Even when life is passing by like a non-stop train.

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Twenty-Three Review

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“Try to guess.”

Sung by South-Korean singer-songwriter IU (Lee Ji Eun), Twenty-Three is the first single in her latest mini-album ‘Chat-shire’. And by far counted as her most personal piece of art.

In this song, IU sings about her life which people try to unravel for her, deciding that they know her intentions just by looking at her face, deciding that they understand what she wants based on something she says or does. It is a smart way of doing it, telling it through an Alice In Wonderland concept using abstract lyrics. With this kind of video and lyrics, one would be inclined to either hate or admire it. But just as the song says, which one?

Do you really know?

What is the meaning behind someone’s smile? What is the meaning behind a hint? What is the purpose of that action? Is it so simple to think that I am doing that just because I want to? I have motivations even I don’t know, how can you know what I want?

I think that IU is mature for her age and this honesty that she has, coupled with her ability to abstractly paint her thoughts out loud will allow her to separate the sheep from the wolves pretending to be sheep. But then again, I don’t know, do I? No-one will really know.

Which one?
You cannot tell with my face
Making an opposite facial expression
to the heart is really simple
Which one?
Actually I don’t know either
At first, I never wrote
even a single line of lies

Pretend to be a fox that pretends to be a bear
that pretends to be a fox
Or completely different one

It is true that you cannot judge someone at face-value because you never know their intentions. What they say about themselves, what they say about the world, what they say is the truth… do they mean what they say or are they saying something else?

All these puppet strings that people haphazardly string around themselves by judging before they know, by knowing before they judge, they tangle you up one day. The way to cut them all is to not care. If you want to care, you’ll be hurt, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong does it?

“Try to guess.”

The Little Paris Bookshop Review

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Title: The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George

Summary: The Little Paris Bookshop is a delightful, bittersweet tale about the distance one man will travel for love and friendship – On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop, or rather a literacy apothecary, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers…

I have not touched a storybook in so long or found solace in one for over a month. Life happened. And the words just seemed to slide off the page when I read the books.

But I was intrigued by the idea of books being used as emotional medicine. As a creative writing student, I have been caught up in the whirlwind of ‘write to engage your reader’ and ‘not interesting enough – boring’. I forgot that I was writing to capture specific details for specific people even if there is only one other person out there who needs it.

The Little Paris Bookshop pulled this off cleverly with a main character who knows how to help others although he himself is being consumed by his own sorrow. The story charts his own emotional voyage with his barge of books and his battle with love, friendship and pain.

My favourite passage of the book is this:

Pain, for example, he said: it reserves the polarity of cells. It starts after only three days: arousal cells become pain cells, sensory cells become fear cells, coordination cells become pin-cushions. Eventually tenderness only causes hurt; every breeze, every musical vibration, every approaching shadow triggers fear. And pain feeds hungrily on every movement and every muscle, breeding millions of new pain receptors. Your insides are completely transformed and replaced, but it is invisible from the outside.

By the end you want no one ever to touch you again, Vijaya says. You grow lonely.

Pain is a cancer of the soul, says your oldest friend. He says it like a scientist; he doesn’t consider hte nausea such words will trigger in non-scientists. He is foretelling everything that will happen to me.

Pain makes the body dull and your mind with it, as your Vijaya knows. You forget; you can no longer think logically, only in panic. And all your healthy thoughts fall into the furrows the pain gouges into your brain. All your hopes. Eventually you too fall in and are gone, your entire self swallowed up by pain and panic.

The way Nina George describes these little details, emotions, the breeze, the atmosphere – it settles over you like a comforting blanket. I have forgotten that I need books to survive. I forgot because I hated the way I read in order to feel better. In order to come to terms with this very subject in the passage I quoted. Pain.

Yes, books do soothe the troubled soul. I am addicted to this medicine. It’s good to be back, it’s good to inhale words so that I can breathe them out again.

The NaNoWriMo Game

To clarify, NaNoWriMo is a month whereby writers across the world agree to stop procrastinating on that one story they wish with all their soul to write. Writers pledge to overcome themselves, their fears, their worries, their perfectionist tendencies and defeat the empty page. For thirty days, they will sit down and write.

They will produce 50,000 words.

I have arrogantly called it a game because that is the only way I can challenge my own fear of being inadequate. After all, playing a game does not require you to be outstanding in ability the same way work does. Playing this game, my goal is to win. To produce those 50,000 words.

To finally overcome writer’s block.

This is where I have to apologise to my followers for so haphazardly abandoning my blog until now. I’m sorry for writing one post that in retrospect appears to be hypocritical because I then vanished from my blog.

It was a hiatus of sorts – in which I spent figuring out things which were important to me.

I’m still not sure.

Writing used to be a portal into another world and I could cross over easily. Now, it’s like I lost the key to enter this portal. Or as if the portal ceased to exist.

And I am trapped here in reality, utterly exhausted from trying to open a door that is, in fact, a wall.

But I do not want to give up. Not on writing, which is my entire world. Without writing, I will go mad – I think I have started to go mad since last year when I fell into the pit of writer’s block. Writing is the door to my soul. The only way I can figure out who I am and accept that truth.

That is why I will play this game.

And maybe through it, I will figure out the definition of the emptiness inside me.

I have never done NaNoWriMo before – I always had an excuse to avoid it – so it is a little nerve-wrecking to be writing 50k words consecutively for thirty days. But I found a very interesting book that I am using to help me through my story’s preparation.

Write Your Novel In A Month – how to complete a first draft in 30 days and what to do next

~Jeff Gerke

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He writes with a warm voice and a semi-formal tone that engages me from the beginning of the introduction. So if you are at a loss as to how you should start preparing for NaNoWriMo (or even any other book project), I recommend this book. With simple explanations, he pokes your brains to do the thinking and encourage you to DO rather than simply reading.

I want to say as well that it is true. Write. Smash the wall. Then after that, you can create your own door. I’ve got my battering ram ready, do you have yours?

All the best to those participating in NaNoWriMo.